Lynch will step down as Hen­rico su­per­vi­sor at the end of the month

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - BY MICHAEL O’CONNOR

Hen­rico County Su­per­vi­sor Court­ney Lynch has de­cided to step down be­fore her term ends, weeks after an­nounc­ing she would not seek re-elec­tion in 2019.

Lynch, who clashed pub­licly with county of­fi­cials over teacher pay and lead­er­ship styles, said her last day will be June 30.

“Glad to have had an op­por­tu­nity [to] serve, yet re­al­ize I’m not the right per­son for the role,” Lynch said in a text mes­sage, de­clin­ing to say any­thing fur­ther.

When Lynch an­nounced in May that she didn’t plan to seek an­other term rep­re­sent­ing the Brook­land

District, she called for turnover on the Board of Su­per­vi­sors and the School Board and crit­i­cized Hen­rico elected of­fi­cials for be­ing com­pla­cent. Those com­ments, like others Lynch had made since be­ing elected in Novem­ber, have riled her peers.

News of her res­ig­na­tion Wed­nes­day and the straight­for­ward way Lynch an­nounced it were greeted on friend­lier terms.

Su­per­vi­sor Tyrone Nel­son, who in the past has said Lynch’s public com­ments were in­sult­ing, wished her luck and gave Lynch credit for kick­ing off a con­ver­sa­tion about teacher salaries. That con­ver­sa­tion saw the board add $3.2 mil­lion to the school sys­tem’s bud­get on Tues­day to im­prove teacher re­ten­tion.

“I want to ac­knowl­edge my col­league’s pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tors in the county,” Nel­son said Wed­nes­day. “She broached the con­ver­sa­tion back in March that led us down the path to add $3.2 mil­lion more to the ed­u­ca­tion bud­get.”

Lynch’s rise to power was seen by some ob­servers as the har­bin­ger of a new era in Hen­rico. Lynch’s vic­tory brought a ma­jor­ity of mod­ern Democrats to Hen­rico’s Board of Su­per­vi­sors for the first time in decades. Her elec­tion also came on the same night her fel­low Democrats flipped 15 Repub­li­can-held seats in the state House of Del­e­gates. Rich­mond Mayor Le­var Stoney en­dorsed her can­di­dacy in Novem­ber; he couldn’t be reached for com­ment Wed­nes­day.

Su­per­vi­sor Tommy Branin and board Chair­man Frank Thorn­ton like­wise did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment Wed­nes­day.

“It was her de­ci­sion,” Su­per­vi­sor Pat O’Ban­non said of Lynch’s res­ig­na­tion. “I re­gret that she didn’t find a good fit for her per­son­al­ity.”

Lynch’s res­ig­na­tion let­ter to­taled three sen­tences no­ti­fy­ing Thorn­ton of her plans to step down and thank­ing him for as­sis­tance with her tran­si­tion. The prospect of the Brook­land seat be­com­ing va­cant sets in mo­tion some dead­lines for how and when Lynch will be re­placed.

The Board of Su­per­vi­sors will have 15 days after Lynch steps down to pe­ti­tion the cir­cuit court to order a spe­cial elec­tion. At the lat­est, the spe­cial elec­tion would have to hap­pen in Novem­ber when Vir­gini­ans cast bal­lots in con­gres­sional races. The su­per­vi­sors could opt to hold a spe­cial elec­tion sooner, but it could not oc­cur within 60 days of Novem­ber’s gen­eral elec­tion.

“There’s some lat­i­tude,” County At­tor­ney Joe Rapis­arda said of the board’s op­tions.

The board also will weigh whether to ap­point a tem­po­rary re­place­ment for the Brook­land seat un­til a spe­cial elec­tion is held. If the su­per­vi­sors wish to tap an in­terim re­place­ment, board mem­bers would have to de­cide on a pick within 45 days of Lynch’s de­par­ture. If the board can’t agree or opts not to make an ap­point­ment, the cir­cuit court could step in.

Brook­land res­i­dents could be for­given for ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a bit of deja vu.

Lynch, a Demo­crat, se­cured the Brook­land District seat in a spe­cial elec­tion last Novem­ber in the wake of the death of long­time Su­per­vi­sor Richard W. “Dick” Glover. She beat Repub­li­can Bob Witte by 11 per­cent­age points — about 2,400 votes. Be­fore Lynch, the Brook­land seat was held by Har­vey Hin­son, a for­mer deputy county man­ager who was tem­po­rar­ily ap­pointed by the Board of Su­per­vi­sors.

Pete Kinsella, a Brook­land res­i­dent and cofounder of the group Eq­ui­table Ad­vo­cates, said in an interview that after be­ing ex­cited about el­e­ments of Lynch’s cam­paign, he is dis­ap­pointed she is step­ping down.

“We were hope­ful,” said Kinsella, who wouldn’t dis­close whether he voted for Lynch. “Now it ap­pears she has cho­sen to take her ball and go home.”

Lynch

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